Monday, March 10, 2014

Open Source Challenges a Proprietary Internet of Things

Computerworld (03/04/14) Patrick Thibodeau 

Without interoperability, consumer devices, electronic appliances, and sensor-equipped wearables will not recognize each other and communicate. Although there is no consumer electronics vendor large enough to force interoperability between all devices, there are vendors large enough to frustrate the path to it by building an Internet of Things mostly around their products. However, the open source industry believes it has the method, the process, and the influence to drive the electronics industry toward true interoperability. The Linux Foundation recently created the AllSeen Alliance, which combines the AllJoyn Framework with its open source network. The C++ code supports the major operating systems, chipsets, and embedded variants. Having the C++ code available will deliver the network effect and propel device interoperability, says Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin. However, what is missing in Linux Foundation's effort is the support of the mega-vendors such as Samsung and Apple, according to Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle. He says such dominant vendors typically frown on open source because it enables others to penetrate their markets. "Open source has an important role to play, and the earlier that's acknowledged and facilitated, I think that's better for everyone," says consultant Andrew Aitken.